Biden Won’t Supply Weapons to Attack Rafah

( – In October 2023, Hamas extremists launched a coordinated attack on Israel, killing around 1,200 people, prompting a response from the Israeli government. That offensive has led to the death of nearly 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza and over 78,000 injured.

Students across America have been protesting against what they refer to as genocide, calling for their respective colleges to divest from Israel. Recently, Israel stated it was going to start a new offensive in Rafah — where Palestinian civilians are sheltered — a move that crosses President Joe Biden’s red line.

What Did Biden Say?

On May 8, the president sat for an interview with CNN where he stated if the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) goes into Rafah, the US will not “supply the weapons and artillery shells used” for the offense. Biden has already delayed one shipment of bombs, telling Israel he won’t support its efforts to conduct operations in the southern region of Gaza, particularly Rafah.

Biden said if the IDF goes into “these population centers,” Israel will “not…get our support.” However, the president said the United States would still supply defensive weapons to help keep the country’s Iron Dome secure and allow them to defend themselves against attacks from elsewhere in the region. He said the US isn’t “walking away from Israel” but is “walking away” from its “ability to wage war in those areas.”

Biden told the CNN interviewer that he has been trying to advise Israel and help the country devise better plans for how to operate in Gaza using mistakes made in Afghanistan and Iraq following 9/11. So far, it’s unclear if the Israeli figurehead, President Benjamin Netanyahu, is listening.

Either way, Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made it clear that “Israel should not launch a major attack [on] Rafah without accounting for and protecting the civilians” there. Israel reportedly expressed “frustration” already about the bomb delay, but the US is worried about the impact the weapons could have on “dense urban” areas in Gaza.


Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reacted strongly to the news, stating if the US stops supplying Israel with weapons “at a time of great peril, we will pay a price.” He called the act of halting the bomb shipment “obscene” and “absurd.”

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) had a different point of view. He called the weapons pause a “first step” in using “leverage” to stop “Netanyahu’s horrific war against the Palestinian people.”

Meanwhile, there is significant debate throughout the US regarding whether the country is doing the right thing by pausing offensive weapons shipments to Israel if the IDF enters Rafah.

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